The Future of Life

The Future of Life

FLI catalyzes and supports research and initiatives for safeguarding life and developing optimistic visions of the future, including positive ways for humanity to steer its own course considering new technologies and challenges. Among our objectives is to inspire discussion and a sharing of ideas. As such, we interview researchers and thought leaders who we believe will help spur discussion within our community. The interviews do not necessarily represent FLI’s opinions or views.... Show More

Episodes

Nuclear weapons testing is mostly a thing of the past: The last nuclear weapon test explosion on US soil was conducted over 25 years ago. But how much longer can nuclear weapons testing remain a taboo that almost no country will violate? In an official statement from the end of May, the Director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) expressed the belief that both Russia and China were preparing for explosive tests of low-... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

In this month’s podcast, Ariel spoke with Ashley Llorens, the Founding Chief of the Intelligent Systems Center at the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, and Francesca Rossi, the IBM AI Ethics Global Leader at the IBM TJ Watson Research Lab and an FLI board member, about developing AI that will make us safer, more productive, and more creative. Too often, Rossi points out, we build our visions of the future around our current ... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

Consciousness is a concept which is at the forefront of much scientific and philosophical thinking. At the same time, there is large disagreement over what consciousness exactly is and whether it can be fully captured by science or is best explained away by a reductionist understanding. Some believe consciousness to be the source of all value and others take it to be a kind of delusion or confusion generated by algorithms in the br... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

It’s not just about the natural world. The side effects of climate change remain relatively unknown, but we can expect a warming world to impact every facet of our lives. In fact, as recent research shows, global warming is already affecting our mental and physical well-being, and this impact will only increase. Climate change could decrease the efficacy of our public safety institutions. It could damage our economies. It could eve... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

The space of AI alignment research is highly dynamic, and it's often difficult to get a bird's eye view of the landscape. This podcast is the second of two parts attempting to partially remedy this by providing an overview of technical AI alignment efforts. In particular, this episode seeks to continue the discussion from Part 1 by going in more depth with regards to the specific approaches to AI alignment. In this podcast, Lucas s... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

The space of AI alignment research is highly dynamic, and it's often difficult to get a bird's eye view of the landscape. This podcast is the first of two parts attempting to partially remedy this by providing an overview of the organizations participating in technical AI research, their specific research directions, and how these approaches all come together to make up the state of technical AI alignment efforts. In this first par... Read more

Share
Mark as Played
April 2, 2019 49 min

Why are we so concerned about lethal autonomous weapons? Ariel spoke to four experts –– one physician, one lawyer, and two human rights specialists –– all of whom offered their most powerful arguments on why the world needs to ensure that algorithms are never allowed to make the decision to take a life. It was even recorded from the United Nations Convention on Conventional Weapons, where a ban on lethal autonomous weapons was unde... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

See full article here: https://futureoflife.org/2019/03/06/ai-alignment-through-debate-with-geoffrey-irving/ "To make AI systems broadly useful for challenging real-world tasks, we need them to learn complex human goals and preferences. One approach to specifying complex goals asks humans to judge during training which agent behaviors are safe and useful, but this approach can fail if the task is too complicated for a human to dir... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

In this special two-part podcast Ariel Conn is joined by Max Tegmark for a conversation with Dr. Matthew Meselson, biologist and Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences at Harvard University. Part Two focuses on three major incidents in the history of biological weapons: the 1979 anthrax outbreak in Russia, the use of Agent Orange and other herbicides in Vietnam, and the Yellow Rain controversy in the early 80s. Dr. ... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

In this special two-part podcast Ariel Conn is joined by Max Tegmark for a conversation with Dr. Matthew Meselson, biologist and Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences at Harvard University. Dr. Meselson began his career with an experiment that helped prove Watson and Crick’s hypothesis on the structure and replication of DNA. He then got involved in disarmament, working with the US government to halt the use of Agen... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

See the full article here: https://futureoflife.org/2019/02/21/human-cognition-and-the-nature-of-intelligence-with-joshua-greene/ "How do we combine concepts to form thoughts? How can the same thought be represented in terms of words versus things that you can see or hear in your mind's eyes and ears? How does your brain distinguish what it's thinking about from what it actually believes? If I tell you a made up story, yesterday I... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

Three generals are voting on whether to attack or retreat from their siege of a castle. One of the generals is corrupt and two of them are not. What happens when the corrupted general sends different answers to the other two generals? A Byzantine fault is "a condition of a computer system, particularly distributed computing systems, where components may fail and there is imperfect information on whether a component has failed. The... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

Every January, we like to look back over the past 12 months at the progress that’s been made in the world of artificial intelligence. Welcome to our annual “AI breakthroughs” podcast, 2018 edition. Ariel was joined for this retrospective by researchers Roman Yampolskiy and David Krueger. Roman is an AI Safety researcher and professor at the University of Louisville. He also recently published the book, Artificial Intelligence Saf... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

Our phones, our cars, our televisions, our homes: they’re all getting smarter. Artificial intelligence is already inextricably woven into everyday life, and its impact will only grow in the coming years. But while this development inspires much discussion among members of the scientific community, public opinion on artificial intelligence has remained relatively unknown. Artificial Intelligence: American Attitudes and Trends, a r... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

What motivates cooperative inverse reinforcement learning? What can we gain from recontextualizing our safety efforts from the CIRL point of view? What possible role can pre-AGI systems play in amplifying normative processes? Cooperative Inverse Reinforcement Learning with Dylan Hadfield-Menell is the eighth podcast in the AI Alignment Podcast series, hosted by Lucas Perry and was recorded at the Beneficial AGI 2019 conference in ... Read more

Share
Mark as Played
December 21, 2018 126 min

Humanity is at a turning point. For the first time in history, we have the technology to completely obliterate ourselves. But we’ve also created boundless possibilities for all life that could enable just about any brilliant future we can imagine. Humanity could erase itself with a nuclear war or a poorly designed AI, or we could colonize space and expand life throughout the universe: As a species, our future has never been more o... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

What role does inverse reinforcement learning (IRL) have to play in AI alignment? What issues complicate IRL and how does this affect the usefulness of this preference learning methodology? What sort of paradigm of AI alignment ought we to take up given such concerns? Inverse Reinforcement Learning and the State of AI Alignment with Rohin Shah is the seventh podcast in the AI Alignment Podcast series, hosted by Lucas Perry. For th... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

A Chinese researcher recently made international news with claims that he had edited the first human babies using CRISPR. In doing so, he violated international ethics standards, and he appears to have acted without his funders or his university knowing. But this is only the latest example of biological research triggering ethical concerns. Gain-of-function research a few years ago, which made avian flu more virulent, also sparked ... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

“There are basically two choices. We're going to massively change everything we are doing on this planet, the way we work together, the actions we take, the way we run our economy, and the way we behave towards each other and towards the planet and towards everything that lives on this planet. Or we sit back and relax and we just let the whole thing crash. The choice is so easy to make, even if you don't care at all about nature or... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

Are there such things as moral facts? If so, how might we be able to access them? Peter Singer started his career as a preference utilitarian and a moral anti-realist, and then over time became a hedonic utilitarian and a moral realist. How does such a transition occur, and which positions are more defensible? How might objectivism in ethics affect AI alignment? What does this all mean for the future of AI? On Becoming a Moral Rea... Read more

Share
Mark as Played

Chat About The Future of Life

Popular Podcasts

The Ron Burgundy Podcast
The Ron Burgundy Podcast
Will Ferrell reprises his role as Ron Burgundy in his brand new Ron Burgundy Podcast! Each episode has a different theme in which Ron engages in conversation with another notable person on the topic at hand.
Atlanta Monster / Monster: The Zodiac Killer
Atlanta Monster / Monster: The Zodiac Killer
Atlanta Monster / Monster: The Zodiac KillerFrom Tenderfoot TV and HowStuffWorks, 'Monster: The Zodiac Killer' dives into one of the most notorious, unsolved serial killing sprees in history.
The Joe Rogan Experience
The Joe Rogan Experience
Joe Rogan's Weekly Podcast